Walking as a Way of Reading and Writing the City

Week 1: City as Text

Starting Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Ending Location: Queens Botanical Garden, Crommelin Avenue Entrance


Week 2: Walking and Storytelling

Starting Location: JFK-Howard Beach Station
Ending Location: Q7 bus stop across from US Post Office and USPS Air Mail Center


Week 3: Hauntings: Memories, Graveyards and Memorials

Starting Location: St. Marks Church
Ending Location: Trinity Church


Week 4: The Midterm

Starting Location: Woodside-61st St. Station
Ending Location: Lawrence Virgilio Playground


  • Create a 10 minute walk in Woodside, Queens.

Week 5: Tourism, Driving, and Social Forms

Starting Location: Mosholu Parkway Station
Ending Location: Bronx Botanical Garden


Week 6: Protest and Pilgrimage

Starting Location: Foley Square, Manhattan
Ending Location: Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn


Final Presentation: Walking Stories

Walking Stories was the Fall 2011 Walk Study Training Course’s final presentation of public walks. Each participant created a public walk that furthered ideas discussed by the group during the 6-week course. Click on the picture below for more details.

Walking Stories was the Fall 2011 Walk Study Training Course’s final presentation of public walks. Each participant created a public walk that furthered ideas discussed by the group during the 6-week course. We began with an opening event at Culture Fix Gallery, where course organizers Dillon de Give and Blake Morris spoke about Walk Study Training Course’s past, present and future, Bess Matassa framed her walking project on Travolta’s strut (which is also a section of her upcoming doctoral dissertation), and Kimsu Theiler led a short meditative walk using only left-hand turns.

The Weekend Walks:

“A meditation walk: part 2 (3…)” Fri 8pm………………….Kimsu Theiler

“Incentive” Sat 9am………………….Brandon Jacobs-Mills
“Google: Leading From Behind” Sat 11am………………….Blake Morris
“A Winter Walk” Sat 3pm………………….Virginia

“Pour and Flow Walk” Sun 11am………………….Dillon de Give
“DE-VICED” Sun 1:30pm………………….Moira Williams
“Dropping By” Sun 4pm………………….Audrey Hope

“You Can Tell By the Way I Use My Walk”………………….Bess Matassa
“March Down Memory Lane”………………….Olivia Burke


Please see descriptions below…

A meditation walk: part 2 (3…)

by Kimsu Theiler

WHERE: Culturefix gallery
Friday December 9, 8pm
DURATION: 20 minutes
RSVP: (first 12 to respond)

An object in hand, a soft focus view to not spill the water.
Only lefts for twenty minutes.
12 people other than myself.



by Brandon Jacobs-Mills

WHERE: Franklin stop on the C line in Clinton Hill / Bed-Stuy (by Popeye’s),
WHEN: Saturday Dec 10, 9am
DURATION: 5+ hours

39 degrees, sunny. The new girlfriend is in the castle. A quest for the nebulous destination of South Harlem, begins in Bed-Stuy. Though, it is dangerous to go alone, here, take these 3 lives. Join a walk inspired by Guy Debord’s dérives, sex, and low bit depth video games. Encounter by chance, strangers under bridges, secret passages, and wooded areas with wicked histories, all endangering your 3 hearts. Lose those, and your walk is over. But all will be gifted a small physical memento of their journey.


Google: Leading from Behind

by Blake Morris

WHERE: NYC Google headquarters, located at 76 Ninth Ave, New York, NY
Saturday Dec 10, 11am
 3 hours

Come along on a walk led by Google. Beginning at the Google Headquarters in New York City, participants will embark on a journey to discover how Google identifies New York City. Participants will form two groups who will simultaneously embark on a google walk. We will examine how technology changes our interaction with the landscape, our way of navigating, and our interactions with each other. Come with your camera-phone, and be prepared to add to the street view.

Please RSVP to


A Walk in Winter

by Virginia

WHERE: Gantry Park, Long Island City Queens
Saturday December 10, 3pm
2 hours

Take a tour of the Queens waterfront with a guide whose approach to exploration is mostly determined by an affection for the empty spaces of New York (and a slightly pervasive interest in historic sites of dubious appeal). The tour will include stops at a grass-filled lot, a park (or two), a Subway station under construction and a corner market (among other sites). A baseball diamond and an overgrown building. See the skyline of Roosevelt Island, a bread factory, and three or four playgrounds. This walk will feature mid-range office buildings from the late 1970s and one bridge built in the 1950s. At least one part of this walk will involve open water. As it relates specifically to your tour guide’s personal history and interests, this walk will feature a short history of concrete. As this is in Queens, we will traverse streets with numerical similarities.


Pour and Flow Walk

by Dillon de Give

WHEN: Sunday December 11, 11AM
MEET: In front of “New York Fitness‎” 3550 Broadway (b/w 145th and 146th)
DURATION: 3 hours

New York has a seemingly endless supply of high quality water, but much of the rest of the world doesn’t. Personal transportation of water is the impetus for much of world’s walking. We will walk as a group and talk about water, look at a waste water treatment plant, go up the Hudson River a stretch, collect water from the river, and then each personally carry a gallon of water (8lbs) to the highest point in Manhattan 265 ft above sea level. Then we will let the water go, each follow our own water as it flows downhill, and disperse. Please be ready to carry some water.



by Moira Williams

WHERE: Stenberg Park Brooklyn at Boerum St. entrance
Sunday, December 11. 1:30pm

Walking without high or low technology (GPS, cell phone, map) and greeting the citizens of New York City with a “Hello, do you know…? Could you please tell me how to find…?” A technology-free meet and greet walk will meet in Brooklyn at Stenberg Park where each participant will make one object (materials will be provided) to give away. Following our simple object making, each walker will be given an address to individually seek out with the aid and kindness of strangers. As individual explorers your goal is to regularly engage with your fellow pedestrians, discover the multiple routes to one place, to get lost. Each participant will walk the city until they reach the designated location. Please bring along snacks for yourself and to share, curiosity and a smile! You will be greatly rewarded.


Dropping By

by Audrey Hope

WHERE: 687 Bushwick Avenue
4pm Sunday, December 11th
2 hours

Join Audrey Hope at her home in Bushwick for a journey. Participants will stroll the neighborhood and engage an anachronistic provincial custom in a region defined by change. Through visits to private homes, greeting passersby, and sharing observations stemming from the traversed outdoor spaces we’ll seek answers to the questions: How do we engage with our personal network to create a sense of home? and What are our responsibilities to our neighborhood?

Please bring a beverage to share, a cell phone or other small camera device, comfortable walking shoes, and curiosity.


You Can Tell by the Way I Use My Walk

by Bess Matassa

WHERE: 86th Street between 18th Avenue and Bay Parkway under the elevated D train in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
WHEN: ongoing December 10-11, with intro Dec 9 at opening event
DURATION: variable

This walk responds to John Travolta’s iconic strut down 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, in the opening of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever as disco champion Tony Manero. By following in Manero’s footsteps, participants will both search for the residue of his passage and deposit their own relics along the way. This walk is intended to probe how cultural ideas are both reproduced and altered through the practice of walking, and how memories are spatialized along the city’s streets. At Friday’s opening event, participants can view the scene together and chat more about the history and theory that informs this walk. If you are unable to attend the opening and want to participate in this walk, please find more information and instructions here:


March down Memory Lane

by Olivia Burke

WHERE: Brooklyn Bridge area
ongoing December 10-11
RSVP/schedule an appointment:

Are you among the thousands that took to the streets of New York City on November 17th in solidarity with the occupy movement? Guide me through the streets you walked, tell me the story of your march. I am collecting oral histories, the individual stories that constitute our collective memory of that day we walked together. We will start at a point along your route and retrace your footsteps, heading down towards Foley Square and across the Brooklyn Bridge, or wherever else your feet may have taken you. If you are interested in walking me through your memories, please email me at to set a time and place to meet. I will be conducting interviews Friday, December 9th through Sunday December 11th. Who’s stories? Our stories! Who’s history? Our history!